How we met: DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
FOR many, a perfect marriage is not possible because of the many divorce cases that are reported in the media every day.
But for pastor Ali Zacks, 37, and his wife pastor Mandy, 34, their marriage of 10 years has been a true reflection of a perfect marriage.
“It is possible to have a perfect marriage today. Without a doubt, two loving people can succeed in having a well-balanced, mutually enhancing, emotionally and spiritually satisfying relationship. For us, the ten years have been heat-free,” pastor Zacks says.
Pastor Zacks says even before he met his wife, he told God to give him a heat free marriage that will stand as proof to society that a perfect marriage is possible.
Since then, pastor Zacks believed his positive confession and even when he met his wife, he knew he was destined for a heat free marriage.
Ten years down the line, pastor Zacks, founder and pastor of Divine Knowledge Ministries, still describes his marriage as heat-free.
Pastor Zacks says he envisioned being a pastor way before getting married and because of this, he search for a wife had certain characteristics.
“When time came for me to find a partner, I first looked at what God wants me to do and that was pastoral work. This gave a direction to what kind of a woman I should look for. To me, I wanted a God fearing woman who has the fear of God and who would understand my calling as a pastor,” pastor Zacks says.
He says in 2002, he was part of an intercessory team under Grace Ministries Revival Tabernacle and so was Pastor Mandy, now his wife.
Pastor Zacks says he became friends with Pastor Mandy because they were both in the intercessory team.
“What attracted me the most is her fear of God, and the dedication to things of God. So even when we first became friends, it was all because we had similar likings and we both had love for the work of God,” pastor Zacks says.
And in 2006, the two started dating. They got married on May 9, 2009.
“I can safely say we have had a heat free marriage,” pastor Zacks says.
He defines a heat-free marriage as one in which both married partners realize and admit their imperfections and find ways of reducing them one by one thus creating a synergy of marital forces that only bring harmony.
“It is important that people prepare for a marriage. Marriage is not about wedding day, there is more to it,” pastor Zacks says.
Pastor Zacks says because of the fear of God, they have never had a misunderstanding that resulted into the couple seeking advice.
“ S o m e l i t t l e challenges w o u l d come our way but e a c h o f these have n e v e r made us capsize,” he says.
He says h e h a s learnt a lot from his mentor, David Oyedepo, a Nigerian Christian author, preacher, and the founder of Winners’ Chapel.
Pastor Zacks says marriage flourishes when the couple works together as a team; when both husband and wife decide that winning together is more important than keeping a score.
“Good marriages don’t just happen. A successful marriage requires honesty, undying commitment and selfless love and Jesus at the center of it all,” pastor Zacks says.
Pastor Zacks says as a wife, pastor Mandy supported him in his calling, a request that he made known to God way before marrying his wife.
Besides putting God first, pastor Zacks says other ingredients that have helped the couple in their marriage are what
he called the 7 R words namely, Respect, Reason, Rule, Ridding, Romance, Relationship and Rejoice.
And pastor Mandy says the key to building a strong Christian marriage is to keep the union Christ-centered.
“Even way before we started dating, our bishop at Grace Ministries Revival Tabernacle was taking us through various lessons as singles. One of the things he mentioned was that as we journey through this life, it is important to write down the desires of our hearts. So I just did that, I wrote down the desires of my heart,” pastor Mandy says.
On that list, one item described the type of husband that pastor Mandy wished to get married to.
Pastor Mandy too had told God that she needs a God fearing man for a husband.
She notes that parenting is another tricky territory many couples fight over but for them despite having different ways of disciplining their two children Chara, 8 and Isaac 4, they have found a healthy middle ground.
“If one of you is too strict and a perfect disciplinarian, and the other way too indulgent, striking a balanced middle ground helps where parenting is concerned and less hair-splitting or accusations over kids and their upbringing,” pastor Mandy says.
Pastor Mandy says in marriage, it is important to strive for a heat free because most people look up to older couples for inspiration.
“Your children are watching you and forming lasting opinions on love, commitment, and marriage based on what they see in you. Give them hope. Make them look forward to marriage,” pastor Mandy says.